This paper model is a Salamanders Caestus Assault Ram, one of several types of assault rams used by the Imperium of Man, based on the game Warhammer 40k. Assault rams are used for boarding actions during void battles and are capable of quickly placing boarding parties directly aboard enemy spacecraft.
The Caestus Assault Ram is the common assault ram used by the Adeptus Astartes, due to the craft's high speed and phenomenal durability, which makes it highly prized by many Space Marine Chapters. The Caestus Assault Ram is smaller than the Thunderhawk gunship but is larger than the Shark-class Boarding Torpedo, allowing more Space Marines to be safely deployed into enemy vessels. The craft can safely transport up to 10 fully armoured Space Marines into combat, wearing either Power Armour, Artificer Armour, or Terminator Armour.
The Caestus was originally designed for ship-to-ship boarding actions in the void of space, yet the revolutionary anti-gravitic technology discovered by the Technoarcheologist Arkhan Land enabled the craft to be fitted with high powered anti-gravitic plating, allowing it to be used in high-velocity orbital operations, as well as operate as a heavy battle skimmer once it reaches the ground and deploys it cargo of Space Marines. The Caestus is a common sight on-board the ship of fleet-based Chapters, who spend much of their time fighting against enemy starships, boarding Space Hulks, or attacking enemy space stations or asteroid bases.
The Caestus Assault Ram is equipped with a forward-firing heavy Melta Weapon known as a Magna-Melta. This weapon is used to weaken the hull armour of an enemy ship or fortification wall before the craft's armoured prow crashes through the weakened area, creating a breach through which its complement of Space Marines can immediately deploy and advance. When the Caestus is used as a heavy skimmer during ground combat this weapon is extremely effective at close-range against enemy tanks and bunkers. Many Space Marine Chapters also equip their Caestus Assault Rams with twin-linked Firefury Missile Launchers, one launcher on each of its stabiliser wings. These weapons fire all of their missiles at once, completely saturating the area with a massive amout of firepower, which allows the assault ram to touch down and deploy its cargo of Astartes before the enemy can retaliate. The Caestus Assault Ram can be upgraded with several enhancements, including Frag Assault Launchers and a Teleport Homer. When a Caestus Assault Ram is upgraded with a Teleport Homer the craft can allow additional forces to be teleported to its location, which can greatly speed up the process of taking over or destroying an enemy starship or teleporting Terminators into a breach created during a ground conflict. During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras of the late 30th and early 31st Millennia, the Caestus Assault Ram could also be outfitted with an auxiliary drive system and a Machine Spirit, and armed with wing-mounted twin-linked Havoc Missile Launchers instead of the Firefury Missile Launchers found on the newer craft.
The Caestus Assault Ram, like most other assault rams used in ship-to-ship boarding actions during void combat, was designed for one purpose: to cross the void of space between two voidships at extreme speed and collide directly with the enemy vessel. The ram would completely puncture through the enemy vessel's hull and burrow into its superstructure, where it would unleash its payload of Astartes warriors to wreak havoc inside of the enemy craft. These missions are highly dangerous, as a single hit from an enemy heavy starship weapon can completely destroy most small spacecraft, an outcome that would prove grievous for Astartes, as they will be unable to retrieve the precious gene-seed of the fallen. The Caestus is one of the most well-armoured assault rams in the Imperium, yet it sacrifices little of its speed. The craft's front, which will bear most of the enemy's fire, is heavily armoured and protected with a heavy superstructure that is buttressed by inertial recoil compensation systems. These systems include a near-unique Misericordia system that is designed to interlock with Space Marine Power Armour or Terminator Armour, protecting a full squad complement aboard from any impact short of those that would destroy the craft itself. These systems, combined with the craft's high speed and extremely durable armour allow the Caestus to deliver a full squad of Space Marines right into the bowels of an enemy starship without casualty. With its anti-gravitic capability, the craft is also capable of directly deploying Astartes into the heart of a battle and then lending heavy support as if it were a heavily-armoured skimmer.
Notable Users of the Caestus Assault Ram
- Salamanders - The Salamanders Space Marine Chapter used several Caestus Assault Rams during the Badab War against the Secessionist Forces of the Tyrant of Badab, Lufgt Huron.
- Minotaurs - The Minotaurs Chapter used several Caestus Assault Rams during the Badab War against the Secessionist Forces of the Tyrant of Badab.
- Astral Claws - The Astral Claws Chapter used several Caestus Assault Rams during the Badab War against the Imperium.
- Star Phantoms - The Star Phantoms Chapter used several Caestus Assault Rams during the Badab War against the Secessionist Forces of the Tyrant of Badab.
- Exorcists - The Exorcists Chapter used several Caestus Assault Rams during the Badab War against the Secessionist Forces of the Tyrant of Badab.
- Space Wolves - The Space Wolves Chapter used several Caestus Assault Rams during the Defense of Betalis III against the forces of Craftworld Mymeara.
First recorded in the Libris Apollon as being used during the later years of the Great Crusade, the Dragonfire attack pattern of the Caestus Assault Ram relied on the combined use of three Caestus Assault Rams armed with Magna-Melta weapons, and the skill of their crews to fly these craft in a tight formation while firing their weapons wth precise timing to create large breaches in enemy hulls and fortifications. Few obstacles can stand before the fury of this attack pattern. [Source: Wikia]
Known Caestus Assault Rams
- Sapphire Claw - The Sapphire Claw is a Caestus Assault Ram of the Astral Claws Chapter that is attached to the Battle Barge Seraph of Judgement.
- Burning Angel - The Buring Angel is a Caestus Assault Ram of the Exorcists Chapter that is attached to the Battle Barge Redeemer.
- Amaranth Fang - The Amaranth Fang is a Caestus Assault Ram of the Salamanders Chapter that fought during the Battle of Shaprais.
- Spectre of Death - The Spectre of Death was a Caestus Assault Ram of the Star Phantoms Space Marine Chapter that was destroyed during the Battle for the Palace of Thorns during the Fall of Badab Primaris.
- Gore Dagger - The Gore Dagger was a Caestus Assault Ram of the Space Wolves Chapter that was destroyed during the Battle for the Karina Nebula during the defense of the Imperial Mining World of Betalis III from the forces of the Eldar Craftworld Mymeara.